RF requirements and spring probe development for semiconductor test

High bandwidth,  low inductance signal paths are essential for testing next generation RF  devices.    A successful test strategy must start with  consideration of  contact technology  used to interface the device lead.   Spring probes are the technology of choice for most applications when considerations also include mechanical reliability.  The ZIP flat probe technology from Everett Charles Technologies will provide the case study for the article.

This article will begin by exploring present and future RF device requirements’ linking several RF device applications with their critical high speed electrical test requirements.

The vast array of semiconductor applications translates into an equally diverse set of challenges for test engineers. However, there are two constant drivers that permeate the industry: smaller pitches and higher signal integrity. High bandwidth signal paths and low- inductance power delivery are essential for testing the next-generation of RF devices.

Several factors can impact signal integrity, such as contactor and performance board design, and material selection. However, a successful test strategy must start with consideration of contact technology used to interface the device lead. Spring probes are the technology of choice for most applications when considerations a lso include mechanical attributes such as reliability and wear, as in high-volume test applications. An effective spring probe design must address the balancing act between electrical and mechanical performance. Developing a spring probe capable of 40Ghz+ bandwidth (@ -1dB) while providing adequate spring force and compliance, not only involves extensive electrical and mechanical simulation, but also advanced manufacturing techniques.

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